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Black History Month : Black Founders

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, In celebration of Black History Month the Ridgewood blog recognizes the contributions of Black Founders and Patriots who fought and contributed to the founding of this Great Nation .

Samuel and Elizabeth “Phoebe” France

Samuel Fraunces was a mulatto, a person with one whie and one black parent, from Jamaica. His was most likely born in 1734, though it could have been as early at 1722. At some point in his life he immigrated to the colonies and settled in New York City, eventually becoming the owner of a tavern. It was rumored that during the Revolutionary War, his tavern was used as a meeting place for Patriots. On December 4, 1783, George Washington delivered his farewell to his officers at Fraunce’s Tavern. Apparently Washington and Fraunces had a personal and business relationship. The two dined together at the Old 76 House in Tappan, New York, and Fraunces cooked for Washington at the DeWint House, which is also in Tappan. Fraunces also served a steward to President Washington in New York City, and in Philadelphia from 1791 to 1794. George Washington Parke Custis, Martha’s grandson, remarked on Fraunces at a state dinner, “Fraunces in snow-white apron, silk shorts and stockings, and hair in full powder, placed the first dish on the table, the clock being on the stroke of four, ‘the labors of Hercules’ ceased.”

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